Look around and what do you see? If you said, “Clutter,” or “Stuff” or maybe even, “Lots and lots of STUFF,” you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the U.S. have excessive hoarding tendencies and need professional counseling.
Many of the rest of us aren’t “hoarders” but still have too much stuff.
Fortunately, I have one really simple shift in mindset that will allow you to beat clutter once and for all.
Shift your mindset away from,
Out with the old,
in with the new!
It’s an expression many attribute to the changing of the year but it’s taken on new meaning when we look around at all the stuff in our homes and in our busy lives.
Clutter makes it hard to find a resting place.
Here’s a quick example. Remember back to that high school algebra class you took when you were 14? Think of the textbook and examples on each page.
I taught algebra and loved the subject (I know what you’re thinking, “Who wouldn’t love algebra??”), but when I looked at different algebra texts I found a lot of variables (Get it? A little algebra humor thrown in there! 😉 )
Some books had lots of examples on each page. Each example had detailed explanations and lots of formulas to choose from.
Other books had one or two problems on each page with only key steps written out.
Do you think I’d choose the book with lots of examples and explanations or the book with only one or two examples and accompanying key points?
If you said I’d choose the books with only one or two examples, you’d be right.
Increased “white space” in a math text helps gives your mind a break. It helps you process information and really focus on examples given. Stating only key points cuts out unnecessary distractions that detract attention.
The other book may have more examples, but too many examples overwhelm students and hinder understanding. Lengthy explanations make every point seems equally important. No red flags tell students to beware of difficulties or allow them to move ahead quickly through things they already know. Too many details slow the path of movement from one concept to the next. Sometimes progress is blocked, and the student quits trying. Confusion piles up until it becomes too overwhelming to sort through.
The same can be said for clutter in the home (and in life too, but hey, that’s a whole other post).
Eliminating Clutter in Your Home Once & For All – Changing Your Mindset
Next week, we’ll look at a plan to eliminate clutter, but here’s why it’s important to get in the right mindset before you start.
Visualize the space you want to declutter. What was there when you moved into your home? Nothing and you were excited. What was there the last time you cleaned that space? Hopefully nothing unnecessary and you were proud of a job well done.
What happened to that space?
You filled it up again.
It’s what we do. We crave clean lines and empty spaces. At the same time, we want to be surrounded by important, beautiful things so we buy what strikes our fancy, adding it to our collection of stuff until all those beautiful things blend in to form one very un-beautiful collection of clutter.
Like the math textbook, it gets to the point where there are so many examples on a page you don’t know where to look first. You don’t know what is important, and you can’t find a path forward.
When everything is equally important, nothing is important.
Before you can conquer the clutter, understand clutter can be eliminated with relative ease (I know you’re rolling your eyes and thinking I don’t understand your CLUTTER, but trust me. I’m a single mom of five boys and I KNOW clutter!) The problem isn’t so much the clutter you have now but your addiction to clutter.
Don’t roll your eyes at that and think I “don’t get you.” I have teenagers for that, and I do get you, but today’s clutter will be replaced with tomorrow’s clutter for an eternity unless you change your mindset and resist the temptation to replace it.
Out with the old, in with the new.
How’s that been working for you?
What if you commit to a radically different concept?
Out with the old, in with the nothing.
How would that change your focus on what’s important?
Visualize the space you want to declutter looking perfect. Picture yourself in the store tempted to purchase something new. Picture yourself with the stacks of mail, laundry, or kids’ artwork that you toss in that pile. Picture yourself as well-meaning friends drop off their castoffs.
What will you do when tempted with something that will re-clutter your home?
The Decluttered Change in Mindset
What if you tell yourself that space is already filled with emptiness that brings Peace and Tranquility with it? What if that space is now filled with a delight when friends stop in for a chat instead of anxiety that they might?
By all means, get rid of the clutter, but to make it a permanent solution, you need to make the conscious effort to not fill your space with new clutter. You need a plan, a word or catchphrase to repeat when tempted to replace clutter with clutter.
Think also of how much time you’ll save by not having to declutter the same space again. Think of how much money you can save that you would have spent on clutter before. Maybe you’ll invest in your future or your children’s future, start an emergency fund, or pay off debt and find freedom, or save for retirement!
Out with the old,
in with the nothing!
Has a beautiful ring to it doesn’t it?
Join me next week as we discuss The Right Path steps to decluttering.
Home organization or something else weighing on your mind? Get to a certain point and just can’t get ahead? Contact me. Together, we will get you unstuck and propel you forward!